Son, 17, must tell younger sisters their mother has been murdered

As man confesses to strangling, police say, son of dead Filipina says he hopes for peace of mind as he prepares to tell his three sisters.

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DUBAI // The son of a murdered woman was preparing yesterday to break the news of their mother's death to his three younger sisters. The body of Emma Angos Cambalon, a 35-year-old expatriate worker from the Philippines, was found strangled and dumped near a villa behind the Al Bustan Centre in Al Tawar on March 26.

Police have arrested EG, a 43-year-old man from the Philippines, in connection with the murder. Reached in Cebu City, about 600 kilometres south of Manila, Ms Cambalon's 17-year-old son Jade said he had not yet been able to tell his sisters, ages 15, 12 and eight, that their mother was dead. "I am the eldest and have to be strong for them," Jade said. "I haven't told them yet because I don't want them to be depressed."

Ms Cambalon's family lives in Davao del Sur, southern Philippines, but Jade is studying for an economics degree in Cebu City. "My aim is to work abroad like Mama," he said. "We were very close and we chatted every Saturday. It was only last month that we lost contact." A postmortem examination revealed that Ms Cambalon was strangled inside a car before her body was dumped, according to Mary Simangan, the welfare officer at the Philippine labour office in Dubai.

The former housemaid had been in Dubai for six years, but was an illegal resident since absconding from her employer in 2007. With no documents to go on, it took police four weeks to identify Ms Cambalon after a friend came forward. Once police identified Ms Cambalon they placed her neighbourhood under surveillance. Police said EG was spotted leaving a house carrying a suitcase, and a search revealed it was full of the dead woman's clothes.

Police said EG later confessed to killing Ms Cambalon in a heated argument on March 26 that shifted from the couple's home to the car park outside. Police said EG confessed to strangling Ms Cambalon twice, the second time successfully with her hair and a belt, and leaving her in a car. He then described driving off to ask for help from his friends, but when he could not find anybody he ended up dumping her body outside a villa and running away, police said.

Jade said that he only learned about his mother's death last Friday when authorities contacted him in Cebu by phone. "I was shocked although I had a feeling that something had happened to Mama," he said. "Or maybe she was just very busy." On Monday, Jade told his father about the circumstances behind her death. "They're not really separated," he said. "They just couldn't get along with each other."

Jade has asked the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), a Philippine government agency, to assist in the repatriation of his mother's remains. "Right now, I'm not after justice," Jade said. "I hope her body is sent home soon for the peace of mind of the whole family. My sisters have to prepare themselves for school in June. I would have to earn a living somehow to send them to school."

EG had been referred to Dubai Public Prosecution.